Compare Viread vs. Retrovir

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

Viread
(tenofovir)

Retrovir
(zidovudine, azt, or zdv)

Works with other medicines to treat HIV infection. Also treats Hepatitis B Virus. Viread (tenofovir) is a first-line choice to be used in combination with other medications to treat HIV. Viread (tenofovir) is also a first-line choice in treating HBV.Works with other medicines to treat HIV infection. Also prevents mother-to-child sharing of HIV. AZT can be a good second-line choice to take within the Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitor (NRTI) drug class. AZT can have a number of serious side effects, but if you don't have prior blood, kidney, or liver problems, you should consider it.
Reviews & ratings
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Have you used Viread (tenofovir)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it

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Have you used Retrovir (zidovudine, azt, or zdv)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
VireadRetrovir
  • Rash 18%
  • Diarrhea 5%
  • Headache 14%
  • Pain 13%
  • Low mood disorder 11%
  • Nausea 4%
  • Weakness 10%
  • Back pain 9%
  • Abdominal pain 22%
  • Sleep difficulty 18%
More Viread side effects »

We haven’t found good data for Retrovir side effects.

FDA side effect reports for Retrovir »
How it works
VireadRetrovir
Viread (tenofovir) is a nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor that prevents both HIV and hepatitis B virus from making copies of itself.AZT stops the replication of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) within important cells of the body by preventing the virus from taking over normal functions of the cell for its own purposes.
Type of medication
VireadRetrovir
Available as
VireadRetrovir
  • Pill
  • Powder
  • Pill
  • Liquid
Used for
VireadRetrovir
  • HIV Infection
Risk factors for serious side effects
VireadRetrovir
  • Liver disease
  • Women
  • Obesity
  • Hepatitis B Virus infection
  • History of mental illness
Detailed Viread (tenofovir) risks & warnings »
  • Advanced HIV
  • Anemia
  • Neutropenia
  • Longtime use of AZT
  • Women
Detailed Retrovir (zidovudine, azt, or zdv) risks & warnings »
Pregnancy

Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

Food
VireadRetrovir
  • Taken only once daily, with or without food.
  • Take AZT with or without food.
Kidneys and liver
VireadRetrovir
  • Viread (tenofovir) is not yet approved for treating Hepatitis B. If you have hepatitis B and HIV, don't stop taking Viread (tenofovir) without talking to your doctor since your hepatitis can get worse. Your doctor will check your liver regularly.
  • People on Viread (tenofovir) have reported kidney damage, which can be made worse if you take high doses of anti-inflammatory drugs called NSAIDs (Motrin/Advil, Aleve, Mobic, Voltaren, etc.). Call your doctor if you develop bone pain, pain in your arms or legs, or pain and weakness in your muscles.
  • There are newer formulations of Viread (tenofovir) available that are safer on your kidneys.
  • Not recommended for patients with kidney damage.
  • AZT can cause this rare but life-threatening condition. Symptoms include deep and rapid breathing, nausea, vomiting, and stomach pain. This is a medical emergency and you should get help right away. Baseline blood work for kidney and liver function are helpful to see if you can use AZT. It may not be a good choice for people with liver problems.
  • Poor kidney function will affect how much AZT you can take.
Pain
VireadRetrovir
No pain related info.
  • Combining certain medications can increase the risk of muscle pain (myopathy), muscle damage (rhabdomyolysis), and kidney damage. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist when taking any new medications.
Upsides and benefits
VireadRetrovir
  • Can be used with other medications to prevent HIV infection after an exposure.
  • Taken only once daily, with or without food.
  • There are newer formulations of Viread (tenofovir) available that are safer on your kidneys.
  • If tablets are hard for you to swallow, Viread (tenofovir) is available in a powder that's mixed with soft foods.
  • AZT is provided as capsules, tablets, and syrup.
  • Used in kids and babies.
  • Take AZT with or without food.
  • AZT is included in the combination drugs Trizivir (AZT, Epivir, and Ziagen) and Combivir (AZT and Epivir), both of which are taken twice a day.
Downsides and risks
VireadRetrovir
  • Viread (tenofovir) can't be used on its own to treat HIV infection.
  • Not recommended for patients with kidney damage.
  • Can weaken your bones.
  • Might worsen hepatitis B infections if you suddenly stop taking it.
  • AZT may cause serious blood, muscle, and liver problems.
  • Poor kidney function will affect how much AZT you can take.
  • Allergies to AZT are rare, but very serious.
  • Need to get regular blood tests.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
VireadRetrovir
  • Avoid taking NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like aspirin, ibuprofen, and Aleve in order to prevent damage to kidneys.
  • Patients should be tested for both HIV and Hepatitis B virus (HBV) before starting Viread (tenofovir).
  • Viread (tenofovir) powder should be mixed into soft food like applesauce or yogurt. Take it immediatly after mixing, otherwise the taste can turn bitter. Viread (tenofovir) powder cannot be mixed into liquids.
  • Immediately report any signs of liver problems (jaundice, dark urine, yellowing of eyes, etc.) or sensitivity reactions (rash, fever, fatigue, difficulty breathing, etc.) to your prescriber.
  • Keep your regularly scheduled doctor's and lab appointments. These help ensure your medication is working well and safely.
  • Don't take AZT with stavudine, another HIV drug.
  • Work with your doctor to get regular blood tests. The goal is to make sure the drug is working well and safely.
  • Keep an eye out for any new symptoms or side effects you may start to feel while taking AZT and report them to your doctor.
  • Read the Medication Guide given to you at the pharmacy about AZT since it contains helpful information.
Learn more
More about VireadSide effectsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Viread (tenofovir)?
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More about RetrovirSide effectsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Retrovir (zidovudine, azt, or zdv)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it